Everyone knows the Cardinals lack a true ace on their staff right now, or at least one they can bank on. Jack Flaherty has shown he can be that in the past, and in a contract year, he may regain that form once again. With a lack of front-line pitching available on the trade market, the second best thing the Cardinals could do is add a starter who is under control past the 2023 season and be a really dependable arm for them.
One way they could accomplish this is by calling the Oakland Athletics to talk about Paul Blackburn. The Cardinals and Athletics got deep into negotiations for catcher Sean Murphy, so the club’s know each other well. There may not be a desire to renegotiate with one another at the moment, but Blackburn would be an interesting target for the Cardinals.
Blackburn was really good during the first half of the 2022 season, going 6-5 with a 3.62 ERA in 97 innings while being named to the American League All-Star team. His final numbers look a lot worse because he threw 14 horrible innings to begin the second half before being shut down with an injury after that.
The 29-year old is under team control through the 2025 season, giving the Cardinals another starter for their rotation beyond 2023, and another quality option in this coming season. With so most of the Cardinals projected starters next season having injury concerns, bringing in another guy would be a good idea. While we may all hope it’s a bigger name that Blackburn, I can see the club’s reasoning if a better deal is not out there.